Hair and a spare: things they never tell you about wigs!

Here it is, my new look.


Let me get one thing straight from the beginning. I didn’t buy this wig entirely for cosmetic reasons or even tacky old vanity. Well, maybe a bit:)  This purchase wasn’t an attempt to me look like a beautiful 28 year old girl again. The delicate concoction of synthetic fiber and created color had a single true mission and it succeeded.

I recognized myself again.

Now, when I look in the mirror, something I ignored almost daily for five years, I see someone I’ve known all my life. Me. Not the ravaged person with the scary thin frizz and pain fried eyes. Of course, I look older, but that’s a good sign. I am still alive in spite of everything the bad guys threw at me.

All the wonderful stuff aside though, there are a few things someone should tell you about wigs. But, no one does. I can’t blame my hair dresser entirely or even my friends, since none of them wear wigs! Hell, who knows this kind of stuff? So, here’s the down and dirty truth about wigs.

Lesson One: it can be difficult to keep them on your head.

You have not lived until your wig falls into your lap when you pull off your jacket hood! I am so lucky this happened in my Jeep and not in the grocery store in front of, say, fifty people with iphones and instant access to youtube. However, the bright side is I was instantly motivated to figure out how to prevent that from EVER happening again. Turns out there are clever combs you sew into your wig. They snap down, secure the whole thing and you’re ready for the catwalk or the checkout line. These invaluable face-savers can be purchased from your wig supplier on-line. Would have been nice to know that earlier but, as I said, I was lucky.

Lesson Two:  Exposing any part of the wig to heat while taking the roast out of the oven or unloading a steamy dishwasher, results in this:


My hair dresser’s comment was, “Oh, I forgot to tell you that.”

So, I hope she can fix these delicate threads of spun plastic. She didn’t sound optimistic, though.

Lesson Three: Always have hair and a spare-two wigs.

What important life-lessons have your learned lately?


Three Letter Word

OK. It’s official. I am in hell.

While playing with advanced find in MS Word 7 (yes, I do have better things to do but what can I say?)  I stumbled over an alarming trend in my latest chapter. The. That unassuming article – everywhere. So, of course, unable to leave well enough alone, I investigated my entire 45,078 first draft and was horrified by the vast amount of thes therein. Grand total of 2052 so far.5573590854_d7d2298ddb

I researched around and found a great resource in According to this post, the is a definite article. Like an adjective, it modifies nouns. In this case, specific or particular nouns. OK.  I checked a couple of my favorite fiction authors, calculated their use of the. They hardly use the three letter word at all.

Repeat words plague every writer, I’m sure, but this onslaught is horrible. My writing is suffering, that’s obvious. Am I trying too hard? Probably. But if I’m repeating a word why couldn’t it be a cool multi-syllable word like, say, minesweeper or necromancer? I mean, this is embarrassing.


So, what’s your repeat monster word and how do you control it?

Photo by Foter


A-Z Blog Challenge Reveal

It’s almost A-Z to time again and, better late than never, I stumbled over the A-Z Challenge Reveal. Watch out, my beloved followers. Starting April first I’ll be peppering cyber-land with a blog a night. Short ones, I promise.themebadge

My theme this year is Colorado Road Signs as metaphors for the excitement and terrors of fiction writing. OMG, you say?  Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from road signs that has nothing to do with caution, law, or even addresses. And, if you don’t learn anything else, they can make you laugh!

Join us all as we thunder forward, writing two-hundred and fifty words nightly for the month of April, speeding toward our goal and breaking the literary speed limit.

tropical storm 1






Button-fly Freedom Fighter

I am in hell. I’ve actually found something as horrifying as trying on bathing suits.

Trying on new blue jeans.the-blues-2

All my jeans, the staple of my wardrobe, have worn out at once. Worn jeans aren’t usually  a problem, but I wear my jeans to work, so strategically placed rips, bleach explosions, and ragged hems are verboten. I do have standards. Some jeans should never leave the house.

glass-button-webUnfortunately, women’s jean styles change every year. Every year. They cost more. Every year. And, seriously, do  I really want jeans with rhinestones and tacky stitching riding on my back pockets?  For crying out loud. A guy can still find a pair of Levis 501s without mortgaging the house.

Levi Strauss, a nineteenth century German immigrant, could never have imagined the twenty-first century jeans market. From 1853 to 1873, he perfected a brand of hard-working pants for miners. At first he used canvas, but the miners said the pants chaffed, so Levi changed to a French cotton cloth, called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric became known as denim, the pants earned the nickname blue jeans, and the rest is history.

The special pocket stitch design (sans glitter) appeared in 1873, and the company patented the strengthening rivets May 20, 1873 – the official birthday of jeans.

Added in 1936, the ubiquitous Red tab on the left pocket appeared as a forward-thinking marketing tool. Then and now, the undisputed coolness of Levi’s jeans could be spotted at a distance. levis-red-tag_l

So, I continue my quest. I am a jeans woman, a denim  partisan, a button-fly freedom fighter. I won’t allow fashion or lack of funds to stand in my way.

If old school misses jeans are still out there, I will find them.

What are your favorite kinds of jeans and where do you find them?

Jeans art – Foter. Glass button –  me.

Renegade Muse

Suddenly, after months of silence, my surly muse, Juan Reyes, deceased inter-galactic combat photographer from my first novel, dropped in unexpectedly.

kindle“OK, you’re going to have to knock this s**t off, girl. Back away from the Kindle and plant your butt in chair,” he says.

I see him standing behind me in the reflection of my tablet screen.  Juan’s bloodstained fatigues and battered camera bag are gone. This evening he’s as handsome and whole as he was in chapter one of my languishing first novel. His black dreads touch the velvet lapels of the red brocade duster he wore at embassy receptions. Vain and beautiful, his dark eyes twinkle with adult mischief.

“Netflix is great, but come on. You’ve watched movie after movie, marathons of entire seasons of House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and Orange is the New Black. Why do I get the feeling you are hiding from me? Aren’t you ever going to write again?”  He crosses his arms across his chest, assuming that belligerent stance I came to love after I wrote him into existence.

“Well, I thought I’d collect information on the structure of daring plots,” I hedge, turning toward him.

He backs away, holding up his hand. “Remember. Don’t try to touch me. I’ll be forced to deconstruct.”

Then he grins, fishes in his pocket and produces a red and white cigarette pack. Slowly, he peels the gold strip from the cellophane wrap and tosses the crumpled plastic over his shoulder.

“I love this bad habit. Perfect for someone already dead.” He takes a leisurely  puff, gesturing to me. “Want one?”

“Not as much as I used to,” I admit.

“Good. Now, you must break a second dangerous habit. Procrastination. It frustrates you. Constructive screwing around fills you with doubt. Letting others entertain you allows you to obsess about the merits of the first chapter of Lies and Legends without completing a damned thing.” He sighs. ” I mean, really. How many old episodes of the X-Files can you watch?”

I frown at him. “I gave up waiting for you.”

“Oh, please,” he sighs and frowns at me. “This is not about us. I thought you understood most writing you do without  me, using only your iron will and relentless sense of humor.”

Juan’s sudden mood swing startles me and so I wait.

He paces back and forth, irritable and uncharacteristically nervous, his duster rippling behind him. “Do you think you’re the only one with problems?”

I haven’t seen him so distressed and sullen since I forced him into celibacy in chapter twenty-one.

“We muses, we are in great demand now.  We are so busy we are literally running up our own backsides.” Giant sigh. “There is simply not enough time in the infinite universe.” He gestures toward the open windows.  “Do you have any idea what’s going on out there?”

I shrug. “I try not to think about it.”

“There’s an emergency in this world. Muses have been called.” He glances at the TV chattering in the living room. “Do you ever watch the news?”

“Only if I’m forced at gunpoint.”

“Well,” he says, lighting another cigarette with a flame at the tip of his finger, “at this juncture in time our calling is much higher than handing out prize-winning ideas to artists. World leaders, generals, politicians, religious figures – they all need inspiration more than ever.”

I stare at him.

Juan shakes his head. “I know what you’re thinking, but it isn’t true. We don’t try to influence one side or the other. Muses are always neutral. Our job is keeping the stream of human thought moving. Without us nothing ever changes.” He wanders toward the French doors, glancing out into the darkening sky.

I follow him, staying a safe distance. “So you aren’t necessarily a force for good?”

“Your species’ interpretation of the inspiration we send shapes everything for better or worse.” He leans against the door frame, his back to the stars edging over the horizon. “Some of us don’t care for  our new duties, I can tell you that. Most of our assignments are too morally ambiguous.  It’s a tremendous burden.  Personally, I yearn for the good old days when all I had to do was whisper in the ear of some distressed writer.”

He looks at me, a conspiratorial glint in his eyes.  “Some of us are thinking about making a change.”

“A creative revolution, a literary first strike, artistic anarchy?” I ask.orion

As Juan fades in front of me, I  see  Orion rising  through his wavering form.

“Perhaps. You’ll just have to pay attention. Get rid of that damned device, stop checking your email, quit surfing. Start writing. Changes are coming. ” He winks. “You  don’t want to miss them, baby.” He blows me a kiss. “Oh, and thanks for listening.”

“I’ll send you my bill,” I whisper to the darkness.

What changes are coming for your writing?

j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 100k+ Views) / Foter / CC BY-SA

Mike Licht, / Foter / CC BY


Reach the Beach

OK. So I took a vacation. On the beach with white sand and an ocean of cold beer.

photo (2)I could not write another word, worry about another query letter, or fret about the total lack of inspiration for my next novel. I had to get away.

The beach is one of the most ingenious and beautiful time-wasting distractions ever discovered. Pull off your scuffed boots, shimmy out of those jeans and faded t-shirt, grab the flip-flops and the tacky red bikini (I wish!), and reach for a week of absolute non-creativity. Find the perfect summer read inspired by the name of your hotel – in my case, The Blockade RunnerGone With the Wind still works, by the way. Drink some sweet tea and savor key lime pie.

You have entered the Bob Marley Zone, where it’s ok to leave your cell phone behind in your room and linger under an umbrella drifting from alpha to beta in wave fueled meditation. It is hard to leave this self-induced state of sanity when your week is up but, sometimes, if you close your eyes and breathe deeply, you can still catch a whiff of the sea.

bikini-thHow do you reach your personal beach?

Word Wizards


W – People who write are always looking for a way to be heard. When did you begin longing for an audience? It took me about a year of pounding the keys before I realized I was on my own. For a while, I felt terrible. How would I know if my writing was any good? Why write if no one read my stuff? The old if a tree falls in the forest thing. I hadn’t started reading chapters to my husband at that point, so I was completely isolated.

Unlike painting, music, or dance, writing isn’t a social expression of art. For the most part, writers work alone. But, at some point, they need feedback. I always swore I would never join a writer’s group  but, out of the blue, through a series of coincidences, I found out about a newly forming group at a local independent bookstore. yes-would-you-like-to-buy-a-book_lAfter one meeting, I decided it wasn’t for me but, again, another coincidence brought me back to the fold. It was the best thing that could have happened for my writing.

One of the great things about a good writer’s group is everyone gets it. Each member has doubts, setbacks, and triumphs. And, as I got to know my fellow writers, I learned so much from reading and critiquing their work. I read genres I would never have touched a year before, I poured over non-fiction, and I even read poetry. Forming a kinship of compassion and honesty with other writers is priceless.

So, thankyou, my Word Wizards. Our group has accomplished so much. In the last year, four of us finished our books. One of us is selling her non-fiction book and increasing  sales every month. WIPs are still evolving. Memoirs are being refined.

Next time someone tells you about a writer’s group, consider joining up. It might be just the thing you and your writing need!


Photo credit: ALL CHROME / / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: 0olong / / CC BY-NC-SA


S – OK, it’s getting to me. Have we been hurled into Winterfell? Where the heck is spring?

Yes, we need the moisture and we are thankful for the snow but come on, mother nature. Enough already. DSCN1381 - Copy

To celebrate our last snow of the winter (hopefully), I have created the world’s worst poem.

Snow falls to the ground,

making it hard to get around.

Snow falls in the ditch,

making tomorrow’s drive a b***h.


Is winter over  in your part of the world?

Mighty Mighty MOJO

M– Wow. Half way through A to Z Blog Challenge! Keep going!

Words, with their mysterious origins and myriad of meanings, have always fascinated me. My bookcase is crammed with dictionaries, thesauruses, combinations of the two, a battered copy of The Dictionary of American Slang and, on my iPod, Slango Lite lurks misfiled under weather apps.electric-book

So what does MOJO mean?  Lately, I’ve lost my writing mojo. I figure if I put its definition down in words, mojo will return to me. (Your basic magical thinking!)

Dictionary of American Slang – 1975 – mojo  n. Any narcotic. Addict use. (Yikes!)

Oxford America Writer’s Thesaurus – 2004 – noun – informal – magic, voodoo, hoodoo, wizardry; charm. (Pretty straightforward.)

Slango Lite – 4/14/13 – The word was not found in the database. (So much for apps.) – 4/14/2013 – a magic spell, hex or charm resulting in a magical power.  (I’ll settle for a magical power.)

But,  writing has nothing to do with magic spells.  The real magic is in the writing.  Loss of mojo only means you work harder. You stare at the screen, pound the keys and invoke the power of words. Eventually, you find the right combination of letters that will unleash the reader’s imagination. True that. Even so,  I would like to wave the wand over my words once in a while and watch them fall into place like flecks of gold leaf on the page.

What magic do you use to write your best work ever?

Jambalaya Journey

J – In our joint effort to inspire me through A to Z challenge, my kind husband suggested twenty J words, and I picked jambalaya before I could stop myself.

What the heck is jambalaya? It is a spicy rice stew which, as I suspected, it is many things to many people. A distinctive combination of foods – chicken, shrimp, sausage, rice, spices, celery and tomatoes in varied amounts – this sassy delicacy sprouted in Jamaica, flourished in Bayouland and seduced palates all over the country.1245692931947677249egonpin_Caldero_svg_med

So, what does this have to do with writing? After I read the descriptions of this dish, the similarities were inescapable. Everyone who writes combines everything they know while creating a word path. The meat of their writing is as distinctive as tender chicken or fragrant sausage. Add a dash of action, a glob of adjectives, a pinch of pronouns. On a daring day, throw in tablespoonfuls of eroticism,  pounds of politics, and cups of laughter. Like the rice stew, writing evolves and morphs in the hands of every new word wizard. In fact, as a novel is written, its style becomes more sophisticated from first chapter to last. (I found that out the hard way!)

One article cautioned that tasty jambalaya is only as good as the kettle used to simmer your personal concoction of foods. A writer’s surroundings, office, nook at the bookstore, or hiding place in the library is the kettle of her ideas. Does she thrive in a boil of anonymous noise in a coffee shop, or does she simmer between her ear buds? Is she a sloppy writer leaving words, notes, and files scattered across the screen, like splashes on the stove top? Or is she tidy, cleaning up word debris as she goes?

What writing habits make your words simmer?

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